The OECD Workshop on Mathematics in Industry, held on 22-24 March 2007 in Heidelberg, brought together mathematicians, representatives of industry, and officials of science funding agencies to examine the relationship between the mathematical sciences and industry in the participating countries.
The UK, as one of 19 countries participating, was represented by the Industrial Mathematics KTN, EPSRC and the University of Oxford.
The final report contains analyses and findings emphasising the significant (and largely unrealised) potential of applying advanced mathematics to modern industrial problems. Mechanisms of proven efficacy are described, for implementation by universities, institutes, companies and government agencies.
Industrial innovation is increasingly based on the results and techniques of scientific research. That research, in turn, is both underpinned and driven by mathematics. Given the increasingly intimate connection between innovation, science, and mathematics, it is natural to inquire whether the interface between these three activities is functioning in an optimal way. Recognising this, the delegates to the Global Science Forum (GSF) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) agreed to sponsor an international consultation to assess the present state of this interface in the participating countries and to identify mechanisms for strengthening the connection between mathematics and industry. (The interaction between mathematics and other sciences was left for future consideration.)
A workshop on “Mathematics in Industry’’ was held in Heidelberg, Germany, on March 22-24, 2007. The objectives of the workshop were to:
- Analyse the relationship between the mathematical sciences and industry in the participating countries;
- Identify significant trends in research in the mathematical sciences in academia and the mathematical challenges faced by industry in the globalised economic environment, and to analyse the implications of the trends for the relationships between mathematical scientists in academia and industry;
- Identify and analyse major challenges and opportunities for a mutually beneficial partnership between industry and academia; and
- Formulate action-oriented practical recommendations for the main stakeholders: the community of mathematical scientists, participating industries, and governments.
This report summarises the deliberations, and presents the findings and recommendations of the workshop and of further consultations among the participants. The recommendations are addressed to the academic community, governmental and other funding agencies, and industry. They are designed to stimulate the interaction between mathematics and industry; to enhance the curriculum for students of mathematics; to improve the infrastructure for increased interactions, both in academia and in industry; and to strengthen coordination and cooperation at national and international levels.
Download the full report from www.oecd.org/sti/gsf.